NGO files complaint against minister

NGO files complaint against minister

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
NGO files complaint against minister

Protesters carried banners ‘You are all Armenians, you are all bastards’. DHA photo

Human Rights Association’s (IHD) Istanbul branch filed a criminal complaint against Turkish Interior Relations Minister İdris Naim Şahin, whom they claim supported the controversial slogans uttered against Armenians at Khojaly massacre demonstrations held in Istanbul on Feb. 26.

Meral Çıldır, the head of IHD’s Istanbul branch, said Armenian-origin Turkish citizens called upon their association after the meeting, saying they felt themselves in danger and targeted. Çıldır said Şahin’s speech in the meeting area was open support for those who carried racist banners. The protest, which commemorated the Khojaly massacre in which hundreds of ethnic Azerbaijani civilians were killed, had staged some racist comments and slogans such as “You are all Armenians, you are all bastards.” Another banner said “Today Taksim, tomorrow Yerevan will be conquered.”

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the banners consisting hate speech in the march were singular examples.

“A few marginal and singular banners carried in the protest cannot put our solidarity and sorrow into the shade. We will not forget the Khojaly massacre and we will not let them forget,” Erdoğan said in the group meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) yesterday.

However, AKP deputy Ayhan Sefer Üstün, also the head of Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Research Sub-Commission, said those banners were racist and discriminative, daily Radikal reported yesterday. Üstün called on the prosecutors to investigate the march.

“The law is obvious. The ones who commit discrimination crimes must be punished. They [non-governmental organizations] demand us to prepare a bill against hate crimes, but firstly we need to implement the current law against those crimes,” Üstün said.